Retail may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about technological innovation, but think about how much eCommerce has transformed the way we buy things just over the last five years, much of it thanks to the use of powerful databases.
We now have a seemingly infinite amount of choice with thousands of online retailers and a mind-blowing array of options just a click away. As such, it comes as no surprise that eCommerce sales grew 15% in 2018 and the global retail eCommerce market is expected to reach $4.9 trillion by 2021.
In an age of limitless competition, retailers increasingly understand how important it is to use modern applications to ensure optimal customer experiences in every interaction—be it in-store, online, or on social media.
When customers have poor experiences, they’re four times as likely to look for substitutes. On the flipside, deliver great experiences on a regular basis, and customers become loyal. This is a big deal. Though loyal customers may only account for 15% of a retailer’s customer base, they can be responsible for generating as much as 70% of sales.
To meet customer expectations and ensure optimal experiences, retailers are increasingly moving to hybrid cloud environments. In fact, one recent report found that 21% of retailers already have hybrid cloud deployments, making them the second largest adopters of this kind of computing infrastructure.
What’s more, 93% of retailers believe that hybrid cloud or multi-cloud are the best IT models for them because they help them meet consumer demand for personalization and instant gratification while ensuring data is secure and maintaining consistent experiences across channels.
Here are the five key benefits of hybrid cloud for retailers.
The Benefits of Hybrid Cloud for Retailers
1. Makes it easier to sell by reaching customers where they are
A hybrid cloud infrastructure gives retailers the peace of mind that comes with knowing their applications can scale easily during high-traffic periods. Hybrid cloud also makes it easier for retailers to optimize their sites for mobile—something that’s critical as the ecommerce market continues to grow at a rapid pace. Add it all up, and it becomes much easier to sell to customers at any time and on any device, which should be the goal of any retailer.
2. Makes it easier to create products customers want
Having a hybrid cloud infrastructure allows retailers to leverage the kind of powerful data analysis that steers them in the direction of creating the products their customers are dying to have. One Berlin-based fashion startup, for example, uses data to identify new styles and trends their customers are most interested in.
Beyond that, retailers can also use hybrid cloud environments to deliver the personalized experiences their customers expect.
3. Better control of inventory
According to a recent report, 43% of retailers say inventory management is their biggest day-to-day challenge. Good news: hybrid cloud also gives retailers more real-time visibility into their inventory levels, which can also help them solve cash-flow issues (i.e., having too much inventory on hand). More insight into inventory levels also helps increase sales, as customers quickly look for substitutes when retailers are out of stock.
4. Increased productivity and efficiency
Of course, one of the main drivers of hybrid cloud adoption is the efficiencies that come along with it. Retailers deploying their applications in hybrid cloud environments will enjoy cost savings, increased accessibility, and increased availability, among other things.
Beyond that, the cloud makes it easier to integrate tools and workflows, letting retailers enjoy additional productivity gains. It also allows for data portability, meaning enterprises can change cloud providers whenever they want, which gives them a competitive advantage by allowing them to be proactively ready to counter disruption right when it happens.
5. Better control of data
In the age of high-profile (and costly) data breaches and regulations such as the European Union’s GDPR, no organization is completely safe from the consequences of data loss or leakage.
The hybrid cloud can help here, too, allowing organizations to store personally identifiable information on private cloud resources while using the public cloud for less sensitive applications. Choosing where your data lives is extremely powerful for retailers, as it allows them to more easily comply with regulations while providing a low-latency experience for shoppers by placing data near where they are located.
For Retailers, Hybrid Cloud Is the Best Way Forward
Retailers are coming to realize that hybrid cloud is the ideal model for their IT infrastructures, but not all of them have fully taken the plunge into hybrid cloud—yet. Still, nearly one-quarter of them have, and we expect more and more retailers to follow suit in the very near future.
And that’s a great thing: Those that make the move sooner will sooner realize all of the above benefits while gaining a clear competitive advantage over their peers and delighting their customers in each interaction.